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It Can Be Jarring and Unexpected

I’m getting some reader feedback on my latest contemporary novel, The Deception. For the most part it’s all been good. There is, of course, some minor criticism here and there, which is to be expected. After all, no author possibly can please all readers all the time. One comment, however, was about the sudden end to one of the characters. The reader believed it was too jarring and too over the top.

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

As storytellers, our characters will sometimes surprise us. This time it happened near the end of the story. I had resolved the main conflict and was tying up the loose ends. As I was working on the dialog I suddenly realized there was an opening for my lead antagonist to reintroduce the conflict. I had two options. Write a sequel, or deal with the antagonist once and for all.

In this case, a sequel would have been redundant. It would have essentially been the same story. The only difference would be the antagonist having a different cohort this time around, and a boring, predictable sequel would hurt the integrity of the original story. 

My other option was to kill off the antagonist, thus ending the conflict once and for all. I chose the latter. The character is killed in a traffic accident before she has the opportunity to cause more harm, and there is no warning this is coming.

I strive to keep my contemporary romance novels as realistic and believable as possible. Sadly, we live in a world where tragic events occur every day, all without warning. For the victims and their survivors, life is never the same. It’s also a reality I know all too well. A few years ago a young cousin was killed in a car crash. It was completely unexpected. One minute he was a healthy twenty-year-old man with his whole life ahead of him. The next minute he was gone forever. 

While my decision to kill a character in a car accident may have seemed over the top for one reader, other readers disagreed. The character in question was, after all, an antagonist, they felt vindicated. Her sudden end was also the direct result of her own actions.

Tragedy happens all too often, so perhaps the bigger lesson here is to never take life for granted. It really can come to a sudden end, without warning.

Marina Martindale



The Deception is available on Amazon,, and with other online resellers.


Marina Martindale writes and edits all of her blog posts herself. She does not use AI software or images of any kind. No part of this blog may be used or reproduced or transmitted in any form, or used in any matter by AI, without the express written consent Good Oak Press, LLC. Requests for permission must be addressed to Good Oak Press, LLC, P.O. Box 51244, Denton, TX 76206-1244




Posted in Marina's Novels, Writing